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  • Writer's pictureJoel Friedman

A Comprehensive Guide To Cleaning Roof Shingles

Updated: Aug 1, 2023

Roof shingles are vital to the lifespan and aesthetic look of your building. They act as a water and wind resistance layer to your roof, and therefore, they protect your property against the elements of the weather—rain, snow, sunlight, wind, etc.

To meet the roofing choices of people, shingles come in varieties of materials. So, it’s common to find asphalt, metal, slate, or wood shingles. And though they offer protection, some are more suitable in certain climates than others. For instance, a metal roof is perfect for a cold location.

And like any exterior parts of your building, roof shingles need cleaning from time to time. This is because they are susceptible to nature’s wrath. This includes moss, mold, fungus, algae, mildew, etc. Note that these moisture-wrecking elements can cause severe damage to your roof.

For instance, moss, left untreated, becomes thick like lawns. This may block your drainage system, leading to rot, bacteria, and mold growth. Also, it would invite bugs, critters, and rodents to feed on your roofing resources, causing further destruction.

So, this is why you must cultivate the habit of cleaning your roof shingles periodically. Clean roof shingles will not only enhance your roof’s curb appeal. It also increases your roof’s lifespan while helping you save money. So, remember, a clean roof shingle is an investment.

As a homeowner, you aimed to derive the full benefits from your roof shingles. And cleaning is the best option. However, to avoid challenges, you must follow the proper ways of doing this essential task. But before outlining these methods, let’s consider your cleaning options.

1. Self Cleaning:

This is the first and immediate option that comes to mind. And it might be tempting to feel you can handle the cleaning yourself. However, this isn’t a good idea if you look at the challenges. For instance, consider personal injury and property damage.

Also, you might not know about chemical mixtures and their environmental impacts. Again, fungus, algae, moss, etc., are tough stains to remove. I don’t think you would like to mount a ladder, wasting your time while endangering your life. This leads us to the next option.

2. Professional Cleaning:

Using a professional is the safest and best option. A professional roofer has the requisite knowledge and experience to clean any roof. He can quickly identify roofing nuisances and provide timely solutions. This act of service will prolong the life of your roof.

Additionally, an expert roofer will bring your roof back to life. He will also save you extra costs while protecting you, your pets, and plants. At Gale Force Roofing & Restoration, we always deliver on these promises. We use eco-friendly solutions to eliminate any stain on your roof shingles.

Now that you know the two cleaning options available let’s move further.

Best Ways to Clean Shingles Without Damaging Your Roof

From the start, you learned shingles are made from different materials. These include asphalt, metal, wood, and clay, among others. However, regardless of the material type, your roof isn’t free from environmental impacts. Therefore, cleaning is crucial.

So, with little ado, let’s clean by selecting some tools.

Your Safety Cleaning Tools

  • Full-body safety harness

  • Garden hose

  • Safety glasses

  • Rubber-soled shoes

  • Garden spray nozzle

  • Water pump

  • Stirring Stick

  • Bucket

  • Ladder

  • Roofing rinsing tool

  • And nontoxic roof chemicals (Example, lye), etc.

You have gathered your tools; now, let’s examine how to clean your roof shingles.

How to Clean Your Roof Shingles Properly

1. Wear Safety Gears:

Put on your protective gears to guard your eyes and skin from the chemicals. Your overalls, gloves, and goggles should come in handy. Please don’t ignore this precaution.

2. Protect the Planet:

The vegetation around your house needs protection. So, pre-soak your landscape with enough water. This will get the plant’s cells saturated, preventing them from absorbing any chemicals. And if possible, cover your landscape with any suitable plastic medium. Then, after cleaning, remember to rinse your plants again, ensuring maximum protection for the vegetation.

3. Mix Your Chemicals:

Mix your chemicals with water in a bucket to form your cleaning solution. You can have different concentrations depending on the stains. For instance, a solution that comprises 25% of water and 75% of sodium hypochlorite can fight intense fire moss and lichen.

4. Pour Your Solution:

Pour your solution into the garden sprayer. When picking your sprayer, ensure it can handle harsh chemical reactions. Note that this will ensure your safety.

5. Mount Your Ladder:

Climb up the roof by using a reliable and robust ladder. Here, be mindful that the potential to fall is higher. So be careful while moving on the top. To prevent slipping, it’s advisable to clean the lower part of the roof. Again, always stand at a dry area of the roof.

6. Start Spraying Your Roof:

Once you have positioned yourself safely at the top, it’s time to get your roof shingles. Spray the entire surface of your roof with the chemical solution and allow it to last for about fifteen to twenty minutes.

7. Scrub Your Roof Shingles:

After the roof shingles have turned white, it’s time to scrub. Use a soft bristle scrub brush or stiff-bristled broom to remove the applied chemical. To avoid lifting the shingles, always clean from the top downwards. If stains remain, repeat point six until you get rid of all stains.

8. Rinse Your Roof Shingles:

Once you have scrubbed off any stain, it’s time to rinse. Use a garden hose filled with clean water to wash off the roof shingles to complete your task.

9. Descend Safely:

After rinsing the roof surface, your roof cleaning is done. So, allow the curing process to start naturally. Now, gently use the ladder to come down from the roof.

10. Water the Vegetation Again:

This is the final stage. To free your plants from any chemicals, re-soak and rinse them thoroughly. This ensures their protection from any harm. Also, it adds to the beauty of the planet.

Finally, these are ten steps you can use to clean your roofing shingles safely. Following them would ensure you eliminate the nuisances that disturb your structure. Now, let’s examine some questions that concern most homeowners. You’ll surely learn from them!


Can I Use Bleach to Clean My Shingles?

You can use bleach to clean your roofing shingles. It’s highly effective in killing bacteria and viruses, and it can perform a fantastic job on your shingles by removing moss, molds, algae, and other stubborn stains. Bleach is a strong cleaner that will amplify the look of your roof shingles. Also, it’s readily available in the market for purchase.

Will Bleach Hurt My Roof Shingles?

Bleach wouldn’t cause any harm to your roofing shingles. Instead, it will help you fight against tough stains such as fungus, fire moss, and lichen.

How Do I Get the Black Off My Shingles?

The dark stains you find on your roof shingles are often Gloeocapsa magma. They are blue-green algae commonly spread through the air. You can remove these annoying stains by cleaning with a chemical. For example, you can use sodium chloride and water to eliminate them.

Besides this, you can use several other roof cleaning chemicals on the market. Also, you can rely on copper and zinc formulated strips to guard against them.

How Can I Make My Roof Shingles Look New?

From this question, it’s obvious you are concerned about the uninviting look of your roof. Don’t fret because you can use a few ways to make it look spick and span. First, remove any debris covering your gutters. This simple act of cleaning will give a new look to your roof.

Second, if you have sagging gutters, replace them. With new gutters, your roof will look younger. In addition, you can repaint or repair your gutters. Third, you can revive your roof’s look by removing algae, mildew, moss, etc., from your shingles.

Finally, you can replace your faded roofing shingles with colorful ones.

How Do I Clean My Roof Myself?

You can clean your roof by following the ten steps outlined above. However, if you are afraid of heights, consider hiring a professional. Also, be mindful of personal injury and damage to your property if you want to self-clean. Finally, note that roof cleaning is a trickery task.

Why Do Roof Shingles Get Black Streaks?

Gloeocapsa magma is the black streak you see on your roof shingles. It’s the result of spores and dirt accumulated. And it’s commonly called blue-green or black algae. This airborne stain often feeds off the limestone on roof shingles.

As a type of algae, it thrives in humid conditions. Gloeocapsa magma can reduce the lifespan of your shingles. Despite its negative effect on the roof, you can effectively clean it using a chemical. Also, you can use algae-resistant roof shingles to reduce their damaging effects.

Will Vinegar Clean Roof Shingles?

Vinegar is a strong chemical with several uses. It’s one of the best for cleaning roof shingles. For an effective result, combine it with dish soap. Unlike bleach, organic vinegar is eco-friendly, so your landscape is safe. With stubborn stains, use a high concentration of vinegar to remove them.

Should You Power Wash Your Shingles?

A pressure washer may seem ideal for removing stains on roof shingles. However, don’t rely on it to clean your roof, and this is because its high pressure can cause potential damage to your roofing shingles. Instead, you can use approved chemicals to free your roof from stains.

Is Roof Cleaning A Good Idea?

Cleaning is vital to your roof as it’s to your bathhouse. So it’s a good idea to clean your roof. A clean roof enhances your structure’s visual appeal and increases the market value of your building. Besides these, you’ll feel confident to own such an asset.

How Often Should You Clean Moss Off Roof?

Moss is one of the most typical roofing nuisances. When left unchecked, it can block drainage points—gutters and outlets. So, to avoid severe damage and costly repairs, clean them as soon as possible. According to professionals, it’s ideal for cleaning your roof once every year. However, if it’s a newly installed roof, you can wait to do that after two years.

My Concluding Remarks

The sight of algae, dirt, mold and moss on roofs gives the building and the owner a lousy image. So to keep your home looking good, clean them off your roof. Though you might discount the idea of roof cleaning, it has several benefits.

First, a clean roof prolongs the roof’s life and its building. Also, it gives an attractive look to properties, boosting the ego of its owners. In addition, a property with a stunning roof commands a higher value. With these few significant benefits, you shouldn’t ignore roof cleaning.

If you are afraid of heights or lack chemical knowledge, never try to self-clean your roof. Also, there are several other potential dangers involved in cleaning a roof besides these two. Therefore, it’s prudent to hire a qualified roofer to clean your roofing shingles properly.

Finally, talk to us if you need a trusted roofer to handle your roof cleaning. You’ll be glad you did. At Gale Force Roofing & Restoration, we specialize in residential and commercial roofing services.

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